PAHO Supports Strengthening Access to COVID-19 Vaccines in Suriname's Interior Communities through Donation to Medical Mission

13 Jun 2023
13 Jun 2023

Suriname, June 13, 2023 (PAHO/WHO) – The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is pleased to announce the successful handover of a generous donation to the Medical Mission in Suriname. This donation, made possible through funds provided by the Canadian Government, aimed to bolster the access and provision of COVID-19 vaccines to communities in the interior of Suriname.

The donation included five B Medical Solar Direct Drive Vaccine Refrigerators, along with spare parts, which play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity and efficacy of vaccines in remote areas. These refrigerators were specifically designed to provide reliable and sustainable cooling solutions, ensuring the safe storage and distribution of vaccines even in locations with limited access to electricity.

Speaking about the significance of this donation, Maureen Wijngaarde-van Dijk, Deputy Director of the Medical Mission, emphasized the perfect timing of the initiative.

"The Medical Mission is grateful for this timely contribution from PAHO/WHO and Canada. Last year, the Bureau of Public Health (BOG) in Suriname reached out to us, inquiring if we required additional refrigerators for vaccine storage.We had already identified five critical areas, including Brokopondo and the Upper-Suriname area, where the provision of these refrigerators would greatly enhance our efforts to ensure the availability of vaccines. The fact that these refrigerators are solar-powered provided an additional advantage, as it aligned with our commitment to sustainable healthcare solutions." - Deputy Director of the Medical Mission Maureen Wijngaarde-van Dijk

In recognition of the longstanding partnership between Canada, PAHO/WHO, and Suriname, the Honorary Consul of Canada, Mr. Patrick Healy, expressed his gratitude during the handover ceremony. He remarked, "This donation is yet another testament to the enduring relationship between Canada, PAHO, and Suriname. The government of Canada is proud to have played a part in supporting the Medical Mission's vital work in strengthening the country's healthcare infrastructure and improving access to COVID-19 vaccines."

PAHO remains committed to collaborating with its partners to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure equitable access to vaccines for all. By working together, we can make a significant difference in the lives of vulnerable populations, particularly those residing in remote areas.

"We are proud to collaborate with the Medical Mission and Canada in strengthening access to COVID-19 vaccines in Suriname's interior communities. This donation of vaccine refrigerators and the successful partnership during the Vaccination Week in the Americas exemplify our shared commitment to ensuring equitable access to vaccines for all populations, including those in remote areas. Together, we are making a difference in protecting the health and well-being of Surinamese citizens in all areas." - Dr. Lilian Reneau-Vernon, PAHO/WHO Representative Suriname

About Medical Mission:
The Medical Mission is a faith-based NGO and has been given the mandate by the government and the Ministry of Health to provide primary health care service to the indigenous and tribal peoples living in the interior Amazon area of Suriname. They operate 52 health facilities with services provided mainly by nurses and health care assistants.

Recently, PAHO/WHO and the Medical Mission worked together during the Vaccination Week in the Americas 2023 to promote vaccination efforts in Suriname's interior communities. The campaign aimed to raise awareness about the importance of vaccination and ensure that individuals residing in remote areas had equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.